Carl Paladino, a former chair of President-elect Donald Trump’s New York campaign, apologized on Tuesday for comments he made last week to a Buffalo, New York, arts publication about the Obama family.
He had told the publication that his 2017 wishes included President Barack Obama dying of mad cow disease and first lady Michelle Obama “return[ing] to being a male.”
“I wanted to say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people so responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others,” Paladino said in a statement provided to the Buffalo radio station WBEN. “I was wired up, primed to be human and make a mistake. I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings.”
The Buffalo developer and member of the local school board made the statements to Artvoice when asked what he wished to see happen in 2017.
“Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford,” he said. “He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarrett, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.”
Paladino then made a racially charged comment about Michelle Obama.
“I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
Paladino insisted in his Tuesday statement that he’s not racist.
“I’ve spent years dedicated to the mission to defeat the thought that the liberal progressive elitist establishment can continue to hold our minority children captive in the cycle of poverty simply to provide their voting base,” he said. “I don’t intend to yield to the fanatics among my adversaries. I certainly am not a racist.”
He also said that he hadn’t intended to send his responses to Artvoice’s survey to the publication itself, but rather to his friends.
But when The Buffalo News initially asked Paladino to confirm he made those statements to Artvoice, he doubled down and said, “Tell them to all go f— themselves.”
“Tell that Rod Watson I made that comment just for him,” he continued. Watson, an editor and columnist at The Buffalo News, is black.
Paladino met with Trump earlier this month at Trump Tower but did not divulge what he discussed with the president-elect.
The Trump transition team condemned Paladino’s remarks in a statement.
“Carl’s comments are absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse,” the statement said.
Allan Smith contributed to this report.